Faith Academy (Mobile, Alabama)
The school's logo, the "Shield of Faith," displaying a Christian cross.
To God Be The Glory
|8650 Tanner Williams Rd.
Mobile, AL 36608
|Enrollment||2,100 (as of 2011-12)|
|Campus size||53 acres (21 ha)|
|Color(s)||Maroon and white|
|Mascot||Rambo the Ram|
The school was founded as Lott Road Christian Grade School in 1969, and was located in Eight Mile, Alabama for nineteen years until moving to its current location in 1988. The school changed its name during the 1971-1972 school year to reflect its emphasis on faith. The school has been named an AISA Blue Ribbon School, exemplifying excellence in teaching, student performance, school life, and school and community interaction.
Faith offers its 2,100 students 17 varsity sports, 34 clubs and organizations, and fine arts programs. The grounds encompass approximately fifty-three acres in West Mobile. It is the goal of the school to "offer quality Christian education in a safe, clean and orderly environment." Faith's missions program have a mission to reach out to the people of Ghana, West Africa.
The school joined the AHSAA in 2008. Faith Academy has won the AISA's Chairman's Award (school with most outstanding athletic achievements) routinely for many years. Baseball at the school is considered one of the top programs in the city of Mobile, and basketball has since led the way as the benchmark program since the school's joining of the AHSAA. In addition, Faith Academy has seen success in the arts as well: the Symphonic Band has played at Carnegie Hall twice, the Senior Choir has performed at the Kennedy Center, and the Drama Team is placed highly in competitions and has won several awards.
Faith Academy was first envisioned in early 1967 at a men's prayer meeting of Lott Road Baptist Church in Eight Mile, Alabama. Desiring to provide quality Christian education for children and young people, they opened Lott Road Christian Grade School was begun in a single, two-story building located behind the church in 1969. The school had 170 students in grades one through six and eight teachers. The name was changed to Faith Academy during the 1971-1972 school year.
The school grew rapidly; by the school year 1972-1973, enrollment increased to 547 students in grades one through twelve. Kindergarten was added in the 1975-1976 school year. Faith Academy remained in Eight Mile for nineteen years, but moved to the present site on Tanner Williams Road in Mobile, Alabama, in the summer of 1988. The enrollment remained at approximately 500 students in grades kindergarten through twelve. During the 1990-1991 school year, the school was accredited by the Alabama Independent School Association.
Faith Academy’s enrollment has reached over 2100 students, and it is the largest private Christian School in Alabama. In 2008 almost 60% of the senior class received academic or athletic scholarship with the average ACT score being 24. Students can enlist in honors classes and begin dual-enrollment classes beginning in the 10th grade which allows seniors to graduate with as many as 13 college credits in core academic classes. John T. Skelton has been the Headmaster at Faith for over 40 years. He is a member of the AISA Hall of Fame for his many years of service.
The Faith Academy Band program began in the fall of 1997. The band program has received honors, including winning first place and grand champion trophies at national music festivals since 1999. The program places one of the highest number in district VII in the ABA All-State bands each year, and has been awarded at the AISA State Band Festival 40 superior ratings. It was the first private school band to ever be invited to perform for the entire state music educators, both public and private.
It has performed at the National Invitational Band and Orchestra Festival in New York City at Carnegie Hall in April 2006 and April 2010, and is one of only sixteen ensembles performing at the festival. The Symphonic Band is the premier performing ensemble at Faith Academy, and is the most awarded musical ensemble at the school. David Pryor is the Director of Instrumental Music and Music Department Chairman at Faith and has remained so for over fifteen years.
Faith Academy's Senior Choir has been under the direction of Michelle McCormick since 2001. The choir's ensembles have won honors and awards over the past decade. They have continually increased the number of students from the Alabama Vocal Association All-State choirs, and have been awarded a superior rating for each choir that has attended the AISA State Choral Festival for eleven years. In addition, the choirs have placed highly in national competitions, being selected as the most outstanding overall choir seven times. The Senior Choir and Chamber Choir were selected to open for the Allentown Symphony Orchestra (ASO) at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in April 2010.
In April 2011, the top level groups got three invitations to perform at Carnegie Hall under McCormick's direction. After a long absence, the Boar's Head Festival (a dinner theatre play began by the University of Mobile in 1975) was revived by the choirs in 2005 and has been performed four times, including in the fall of 2011.
The Faith Academy Drama Department began in 2005 and has received multiple awards at the AISA State Drama Competition. The FA Drama Team presents two productions per year, alternating between plays and musicals. Alisha Waite is the head of the Drama Department and has been so since the department's foundation in 2005.
Faith Academy has Fine Arts programs, including a Portfolio Development course, designed for students who are interested in pursuing a career in the field of art or design. At the AISA District II Art Competition in 2011, Faith Academy had 48 winning pieces of artwork (more than any other school in the Mobile area), and 25 pieces qualified to move on to the next level of competition. At the AISA State Art Competition, students placing in every level of competition from K5-12th grade brought home 11 awards.
Faith Academy joined the AHSAA in 2008 and has had success in almost every varsity sport. Volleyball won the school's first ever state championship (2009) in 5A led by two time Mobile Press Register Coach of the Year (2008, 2009), Jessica Rapier, a graduate and former player of Spring Hill College. Girls basketball is led by longtime athletic director and 2007 Coach of the Year Woodie Head and has advanced to the regional finals in each of the first two seasons in AHSAA with a 57-5 overall record. Head is a member of the AISA Coaching Hall of Fame and has won over 1,000 games coaching volleyball, boys and girls basketball and softball over a 25-year coaching career. Softball recently named Raelynn Dennis as new head coach after Woodie Head stepped down to focus more on day-to-day operations and girls basketball.
The Boys Basketball program is led by former Auburn-Montgomery and Faulkner University assistant coach John Price. From 2005 to 2008, Faith reached the Alabama Independent School Association semifinals three times and won one state championship. After joining the AHSAA, the team has won five consecutive regionals, won three consecutive regional titles and three consecutive state semifinals. In 2015, the team won USA Today's Best Boys Basketball Program contest with over 568,000 votes. In 2014 and 2015, they have been ranked No. 1 in Class 5A.
Baseball is led by Matt Seymour. The school's baseball team was previously coached by Lloyd Skoda for 29 non-consecutive years, who continues to teach other classes at the school. Skoda, who retired in 2013 after celebrating his 900th win, won 11 AISA state tiles at Faith and was inducted into the Alabama Baseball Association Hall of Fame in 2003. With a 2.2 million dollar baseball/softball facility, Faith has the top baseball facility in southeast Alabama.
Football is led by Rusty Mason, who took the reins after Gary Caldwell stepped down in 2011. Faith football proved very successful in the AISA but has struggled since moving to the AHSAA. In 2003, Caldwell alongside head coach Robby James "helped transform the program from an AISA doormat into a state title contender," compiling 72-22 record in eight seasons under James. The Rams fell to 3-7 in 2008 in the first season as part of the AHSAA ranks, and James resigned in 2009. Caldwell was promoted to head coach but resigned after three consecutive losing seasons.
- P.J. Walters (2003) — Major League Baseball pitcher for the Kansas City Royals
- Josh Donaldson (2004) — Major League Baseball third baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays
- Kyle Fredricks (2005) — member of Veritcal Church Band, a ministry of Harvest Bible Chapel
- James Harris (2016) - NFL Chicago Bears
- Nick Carley (2016) - MLS Seattle Sounders
- Faith Academy: About Us
- Faith Academy: Student Life - Instrumental Music
- Faith Academy: Student Life - Choral Music
- "Two Christmas celebrations to revive medieval, Renaissance holiday celebrations". Press-Register. November 26, 2009. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
- Faith Academy: Student Life - Drama Program
- Faith Academy: Student Life - Fine Arts
- "Faith Academy in Mobile, Ala., wins Best Boys Basketball Program contest". USA Today. February 9, 2015. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
- "Faith Academy 73, St. Paul's 51: No. 1 Rams run win streak to 24". Press-Register. January 16, 2015. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
- Ben Thomas (May 7, 2013). "Faith Academy baseball coach Lloyd Skoda announces his retirement after 39 years". Press-Register. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
- Ben Thomas (April 11, 2013). "Lloyd Skoda's success not measured in wins -- though there are plenty of them". Press-Register. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
- Josh Bean (December 6, 2011). "Rusty Mason hired as new football coach at Faith Academy". Press-Register. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
- Josh Bean (April 7, 2009). "Caldwell promoted at Faith Academy". Press-Register. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
- Josh Bean (November 10, 2011). "Faith Academy football coach Gary Caldwell resigns after three seasons". Press-Register. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
- "Faith Academy Opens School in West Africa". Local 15 News. March 14, 2014. Archived from the original on March 26, 2014. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
- Mobile Press Register